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/ DEVELOPMENTS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Popular Pier Safe Despite Shooting, Officials Say

March 14, 2000

SANTA MONICA — Two days after a man shot five people on the Santa Monica pier, city officials said Monday they believe the pier, a world famous tourist destination visited by more than 3 million people each year, is safe. A police substation is right on the pier, they stressed.

"I'm not sure what else could be done in terms of security," said Jan Palchikoff, executive director of the organization that runs the pier. "I'm sorry it happened, but it truly is an isolated incident."

The five victims have been released from hospitals and are expected to recover fully, authorities said.

Police said Monday that they have made no arrests but are seeking six suspects, who could be charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

The shooting occurred about 11:05 p.m. Saturday on the ramp leading down to the pier. Six men approached four other men, who are all residents of Los Angeles ages 17 to 19, and demanded to know their gang affiliations, said Lt. Gary Gallinot, Santa Monica Police Department spokesman.

The men began to yell at each other, then one of the group of six pulled out a handgun and started shooting, wounding his four opponents and a 21-year-old man from Thousand Oaks who was hit by a stray bullet.

Officers at a Santa Monica police substation about 100 yards away heard the shots and rushed to the scene, but the suspects had fled, police said.

A year and a half ago, Santa Monica was racked by a gang war that left five people dead and several others wounded. During the same four-week period, a German tourist was killed during an attempted robbery.

But Gallinot said police do not believe the city is in for another wave of violence.

"All those involved [in Sunday's shooting] were from downtown Los Angeles," Gallinot said, adding that this is the first shooting on the pier in at least two years.

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